Bob Burrell regional director of BCOAPO’s North Fraser district (left) gives branch 113 president Dick Hopkins (right) the 45th anniversary award.

Pensioner’s organization hits middle age

Local B.C. Old Age Pensioners’ Organization turns 45

At 45 years old, the local B.C. Old Age Pensioners’ Organization (BCOAPO) branch itself isn’t quite old enough to qualify as a senior, but it was honoured for reaching another landmark age at the Friendship House last week.

Dick Hopkins, president of the BCOAPO Branch 113 Agassiz, accepted the award from regional director of BCOAPO’s North Fraser district Bob Burrell at the local group’s board meeting on Thursday.

“As an organization we’re proud that we’ve been able to serve our community for this many years, providing socialization help to our seniors,” Hopkins, who has been involved with the BCOAPO for 21 years later said.

Over that time, he has seen membership to the 55-plus branch grow to the 225 members it has today.

“Most of our members are in their 70s and 80s, some in their 90s,” Hopkins said. “We’ve still got about four or five members who are in their 90s and they’re still active.”

As more people age or move into the community and membership grows, so has the branch’s activities in the Friendship House.

That building was planned and an OAPO committee formed in 1987 to raise the necessary funds ($237,000) for its erection.

The Friendship House was opened in 1990 to a branch 113 membership of 50.

And today the increased number of participants who visit the facility have a broad selection of programs they can join.

Hopkins lists many of them: bingo, line dancing, sit and be fit (aerobics), cribbage, bridge, floor curling and the Jammers musical entertainment.

“It’s an opportunity to be involved with people in their own age group,” he said.

There are 24 teams in the floor curling league, up to 30 people go to Monday’s sit and be fit class, and line dancing sees over 20 people joining in the group activity.

The organization also has annual fundraising events throughout the year including casino bus trips, St. Patrick’s Day and Halloween teas, an April spaghetti dinner and a November fall dinner.

In addition to that, the group rents out the hall for anniversaries, memorial services and many other types of holiday parties to help cover their costs.

At 45 years old BCOAPO Branch 113 Agassiz is impressive, but not nearly as much as its elders, the members and organizers that make the Friendship House buzz.